The short list for the Man Booker Prize for 2011 was announced yesterday and included debut novels Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman and Snowdrops by A.D. Miller along with more established novelists Julian Barnes’s The Sense of Ending, Carol Birch’s Jamrach’s Menagerie, Patrick deWitt’s The Sister’s Brothers, and Half Blood Blues by Esi Edygyan. Unfortunately, the last two titles are out of stock at the publisher. However, we have in stock Pigeon English and Snowdrops, and hope to have The Sense of Ending and Jamrach’s Menagerie soon.
Here’s the publisher’s synopsis for the novels that are available:
Pigeon English, Stephen Kelman
Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a block of flats on an inner-city housing estate. The second best runner in the whole of Year 7, Harri races through his new life in his personalised trainers – the Adidas stripes drawn on with marker pen – blissfully unaware of the very real threat all around him. With equal fascination for the local gang – the Dell Farm Crew – and the pigeon who visits his balcony, Harri absorbs the many strange elements of his new life in England: watching, listening, and learning the tricks of inner-city survival.
But when a boy is knifed to death on the high street and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own. In doing so, he unwittingly endangers the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to try and keep them safe.
Snowdrops, A. D. Miller
The Sense of Ending, Julian Barnes
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.
The Sense of an Ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past. Laced with trademark precision, dexterity and insight, it is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers.
Jamrach’s Menagerie, Carol Birch
London, 1857: after surviving an encounter with an escaped tiger on the streets of Bermondsey, nine-year-old Jaffy stumbles into a job for its owner, the wild animal collector, Mr Jamrach. Commissioned by Jamrach to find and collect a sea dragon, Jaf soon joins a ship bound for the South Seas, and so begins a wonder-filled voyage of discovery. But when things start to go awry, Jaf’s journey becomes a fight for survival which will push faith, love and friendship to their outermost limits.
Brilliantly written and utterly compulsive, Carol Birch’s novel evokes the smells, sights and flavours of the nineteenth century from the squalor of London to the islands of the South Seas. This historical adventure is a major literary accomplishment and will delight fans of Michel Faber and Sara Gruen.